There are some things that are quintessentially regional. Anticipating our 5 days in Pine Mountain, we made a trip into town to restock the pantry. I always like to look around in grocery stores for regional foods and I found two of them yesterday.
One is Pimento cheese spread. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed it in the North, nor in the West, but it sure seems to live down here in the South. We didn’t buy any — I’ve eaten it in the past and the flavor never blew my socks off but I was tickled to find it after not having noticed it for quite some time.
Another regional specialty is the frozen Baking Powder Biscuit — in quantity. You can find all sorts of those biscuits in cardboard/foil tubes that you whack on the corner of the counter to open and pop in the oven. But I’m talking about gallon size freezer bags with dozens and dozens of frozen ones in the bag. If I wasn’t doing the Atkins high-protein thing right now (in anticipation of getting yelled at by my doctor when I get home) I’d buy a bag or two of them because you know, you just can’t live without bread in your life.
I’m one of those people that the marketing experts had in mind when they made that Oprah Winfrey commercial for Weight Watchers where she says “And I ate bread every day.” That’s me. I love my bread, pasta, pizza, rolls, croissants, you name it. If it’s made from flour I love it.
There are so many regional foods that one can’t write about them all. Tuesday on our way through Lagrange in the coach I couldn’t get over how many store signs I was seeing all for FRIED CHICKEN. It seemed they were everywhere. I’m sure that’s not the case but after the more amalgamated social climate of Florida, being back in Georgia is definitely being back in the South. Florida may have lots of Sweet Tea — but beyond that it’s too homogenous to truly be a Southern state.
Actually, as we drove North from Florida I was pondering the origins of Florida as we know it. We know that the spur to development were the likes of Hentry Flagler who wanted to develop places for their rich New York and Boston Friends to come to for the winter. And you know how it is that middle class people like to pretend that they are a little bit richer than they truly are — so the middle class followed the money as soon as they could. The result — in the form of Florida in 2016 — is that you have a state that has benefitted immensely by an influx of people from all over the world and the U.S. so that it’s culture is less like the original Florida, and less like any of it’s neighbors that didn’t benefit quite as much by cultural homogenization.
You can Serendipity in this image from across one of the fingers of West Point Lake. The next photo shows the context of our little finger into the lake. You can see the little specks of color that are our ‘loop’ of the campground.
You know I love this time of year — the color of new leaves is one of my great joys each year. I was interested in this little tree that still had it’s autumn seed pod on the tree at the same time the spring leaves were beginning to sprout.
A few photos from the campground round out the day’s offerings. It’s a lovely area put to good use by the Corps of Engineers.
Just a short note about RV’s and power. On a nice stretch of trafficless road I waited until the coach was on a straight and level section and grabbed a shot of the Silverleaf screen. I wanted to illustrate that tooling down the highway I’m only generating about 120 horsepower. I bring this up because so many RV’s are coming out with more and more horsepower and I’m sure there are people looking at used/older RV’s and wonder how much power they need?
In the 80’s there were a few years when I drove semi, cross country. Then again in the early 2000’s I did another stint driving motorcoaches for a charter bus company. During those times I drove units haveing between 290 hp and 450 hp. I have to say that never once did I get the same fuel mileag with a large engine that I did with a smaller one. The fact of the matter is that it takes fuel to make horsepower. And the higher the horsepower the bigger the engine — and to a degree that is literally true of the actual metal beast that’s called the engine — larger horsepower needs more strength to bear up under the stress and that means larger pieces — weighing more — more parasitic losses that aren’t getting you any fuel mileage.
Another thing to note is that if you’re driving a motorhome with an Allison transmission you most likely have accessible to you something called economy mode. If you look at your shifter panel you’ll see a button labeled “mode” and the only thing that happens when you push that button is a little red light comes on and you might wonder if it’s doing anything. Well, it is. That switch alters the shift points of the transmission. Using economy mode will keep the coach in a higher gear longer before downshifting. And depending on your road speed that may mean that for some time your engine is running below peak torque RPM. In order not to do any damage to the engine the button programs the electronic fuel controls to limit your horsepower — not alllowing you to generate full horsepower until you speed up the engine at which point the override drops out and you have access to the full horsepower rating of your coach.
Our Serendipity is equipped with a Cummins 330 HP rated engine. This same engine can be rated at a variety of horsepower ratings from around 300 to nearly 400 depending on the application. When I activate economy mode and the transmission pulls the engine RPM down to anyting below about 1490 RPM’s the engine is automatically derated from 330 hp to only 260. As a result when you look at the Silverleaf display and see that at 56 mph I’m creating 120 hp and that is 45% of full load that’s exactly right. If I nudge the throttle and raise the rpm’s above 1500 the derating goes away and we get the full 330 hp rating.
It’s difficult to say just how much fuel mileage you gain by using economy mode. Obviously you would have to drive two identical units over the same road at the same time to really find out. I know that it helps and I don’t ever feel like I’m losing anything when I’m driving. If I’m not going up a hill fast enough I can always bag the throttle and override the mode — or just push the button to deactivate it. But as a matter of course I start the engine and hit the economy mode button.
Tomorrow we move again — to F. D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain GA.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here again tomorrow to chat. Will you be?